November 14, 2009

Owls Hold Off Furious Saints' Rally in Final Minutes

Box Score

KENNESAW, GA – The North Georgia men’s basketball team dropped their final tune-up for the 2009-10 season, fighting back in the final minutes before falling 78-65 at Kennesaw State University as the Saints put a lid on their preseason at the KSU Convocation Center in exhibition action.

For the first time in school history, North Georgia took on a pair of in-state Division I schools to prepare for their grueling Peach Belt Conference schedule, taking on the University of Georgia last weekend, before opposing the Owls of Kennesaw State University.

Kennesaw State jumped all over the Saints in the early going, taking a double digit lead in the first five minutes of action, but North Georgia came back and cut the Owls’ lead to five points on two different occasions in the first period. 

KSU held the Saints without a field goal over the last four minutes of the first half to take an 18-point lead into halftime, the Owls’ largest lead of the first period. Turnovers were the difference at intermission with North Georgia committing 14 turnovers that turned into 16 points for the Kennesaw State.

The Owls led by as many as 32 points midway through the second period, but the Saints chipped away at the KSU lead late in the game, using a 23-8 run over the final minutes to pull to within 13 points as the buzzer sounded, giving Kennesaw State a 78-65 victory. Reed Buck sparked the Saints’ late rally, coming off the bench for eight points on 3-4 shooting from the field.

Bernard Rimmer led the Saints offensively, scoring 14 points and adding four steals, while Andrew Bennett was the only other North Georgia player in double figures, finishing with 10 points and just one rebound shy of a double-double. Pat Moynihan continued his impressive start to the season, scoring nine points and pulling down three rebounds in 20 minutes of action off the bench.

North Georgia shot 37-percent from the field, 15-percent from long range, and 53-percent from the line, while Kennesaw was 44-percent from the field, 39-percent from behind the arc, and 56-percent from the charity stripe.

The Saints held a 40-30 advantage in points in the paint, while neither team was able to score in transition as both squads had just six fast break points.

The turnstile clocked an attendance of 1,732 as Kennesaw State played their second home game in as many nights and celebrated homecoming at the event.

North Georgia returns to action on Monday evening, hosting Reinhardt College for the Saints’ home and regular season opener. Tip-off against the Eagles is set for 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.